Full details have been announced about the star-studded covers album Alice Cooper has recorded in honor of the collective of dearly departed rock stars who were members of an informal drinking club known as the Hollywood Vampires.
The album, simply titled Hollywood Vampires, will be released September 11 and features contributions from a jaw-dropping lineup of musicians, including Paul McCartney, Joe Perry, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, Joe Walsh, Slash, The Doors’ Robby Krieger, Dave Grohl, and Perry Farrell.
Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp plays guitar on all 13 tracks on the record, which includes renditions of tunes by The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, John Lennon, Badfinger, Pink Floyd, Harry Nilsson, T. Rex, Small Faces, and Spirit.
The album also features two original songs that tell the story behind the Hollywood Vampires, as well as a spoken-word introduction recorded by famed horror actor Christopher Lee shortly before he died.
The Hollywood Vampires refers specifically to the various famous rockers, including Alice, who used to gather to drink at the Sunset Strip club the Rainbow Bar & Grill in the early ’70s.
“To join the club, one simply had to out-drink all of the members,” Cooper recalls. “I would walk in on a typical night and John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon…[Elton John lyricist] Bernie Taupin, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz would be there. The next week might be Bernie Taupin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz.”
The concept for the tribute album began about three years ago, when Cooper and Depp decided they should salute the spirit of the Hollywood Vampires — minus the drinking — by bringing in a variety of famous artists to record songs related to club members. Perry was among the first to join the project, and many others followed over the course of the next two years.
Among the interesting tracks on the album is a previously reported cover of the McCartney-penned Badfinger hit “Come and Get It,” which features Sir Paul sharing lead vocals with Alice, as well as playing bass and piano. There also are medleys of The Doors’ “Five to One” and “Break On Through” and Nilsson’s “One” and “Jump into the Fire,” both featuring Krieger, plus a mash-up of the Cooper classic “School’s Out” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” boasting contributions from Johnson, Perry, Slash and the original Alice Cooper band rhythm section of Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith.
Hollywood Vampires was produced by longtime Cooper collaborator Bob Ezrin, and features liner notes by Taupin. The artists who participated in the project are donating their proceeds to the MusiCares organization.
An exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the Hollywood Vampires recording sessions can be seen ar RollingStone.com.
Full track list of Hollywood Vampires:
“The Last Vampire” (Narration: Sir Christopher Lee)
“Raise the Dead”
“Whole Lotta Love”
“I Got a Line”
“Five to One/Break On Through”
“One/Jump into the Fire”
“Come and Get It”
“School’s Out/Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2”
“Dead Drunk Friends”